The fact that there are rumors of Haas F1 looking to sell is no something that shocks me but according to team boss, Gunther Steiner, those rumors are posted in order to create a “storm in a teacup”.
The COVID-19 impact on Formula 1 has been very large and teams are struggling with furloughs and cash flow. Williams F1 seeking investment and other teams such as Haas F1 rumored to be selling. That doesn’t surprise me as much as McLaren looking to offload up to 30% of its racing operation is a surprise.
Gene Haas, against our advice, created an F1 team from scratch (he could have purchased Marussia and eased his path to entry). He was reticent in the business model of F1 and the ability for a team to be competitive under such fiscally lop-sided compensation. Regardless, he’s forged ahead but has been tight-lipped about his future in the sport beyond this year.
“I don’t know where it comes from,” said Steiner, when asked about rumours about Haas selling a stake in the outfit. “I think it’s now the third time that Gene has sold the team, or partly sold the team. I think this is all speculation. I think somebody is putting some rumours out there.
“We were [said to have been] sold to Saudi Arabia a year ago: we were already sold and the deal was done. But nobody ever spoke with Saudi Arabia.
“I see this a little bit of trying to make a storm in a teacup for no good reason. Gene Haas is still the 100% owner of Haas. He never had a partner. He maybe doesn’t want a partner. He maybe doesn’t need a partner.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if he did want to sell but I am curious who would purchase the team. Whoever that might be is doing it right and would be doing what Gene should have done. Steiner says that if Gene does decide to sell, the team will let the world know.
“When the time is right that he [Haas] wants to do it, we will communicate it,” he said. “And I say we: that is Haas F1, and not everybody else having an opinion on who owns Haas and who is acquiring Haas and who is buying shares in Haas.
“If somebody wants to buy a team out there, I think Williams did a very good job in how they managed it. They put it on the market, said we are interested in something, speak with these and these people. I think that is how it should be done, and not speculation with no foundation.
“I think there are a lot of people that wish to buy an F1 team, and tell people that they’re going to buy one. But they haven’t done it, at least not with Haas.”
Time has to be a factor with cash flow right now for McLaren, Williams, Haas and other teams. With the announcement of a new budget cap system and little details about how it will work or results of its impact, now would be the best time to entice and outside entity that this is the best time to get into F1 as the playing field is being leveled for them. Whether that happens or not is a gamble and new owners may not be as wary as they should be about the efficacy of the budget cap system.
Hat Tip: Autosport